We All Start From Zero

In my recent post on Five Reasons Why People Can’t Make Money Online, I got an interesting comment from SEO for Marketing.

Great post. But the time also matters. When you started blogging it was not that many who were blogging and you aslo picked the good niche which is never ending niche “how to make money online”

I actually get this type comment a lot. People say it was easier when I started because there was no competition and the field of bloggers was less crowded. Here’s the truth. It’s easier to start a money making blog today than when I started. Here’s why.

When I started blogging, there wasn’t anywhere near the support materials and information. WordPress was still just a simple blogging software and not a full Content Management System (CMS) that can do anything. The blogging community was still very new. There was no such things as WordCamps or Developer Days. You couldn’t say “there’s a plugin for that” because there weren’t many plugins. Also limited was the way you can monetize a blog. Back then, the only choice was Google AdSense or sell your own advertising.

Today, WordPress is the most popular blogging platform in the world. It’s far more than just blogging software. You can use WordPress to set up squeeze pages, membership sites, photo galleries, etc. There are millions of plugins and themes to give your blog the look and function of a professional website costing thousands of dollars. There are tons of revenue options. You are no longer limited to AdSense. You also have access to quality information, like Blogging with John Chow and IM John Chow, that I didn’t have when I started.

John Chow dot Com Version 1

One of the mistakes new readers make when they visit this blog is they assume the blog has always been like this. The truth is, it started from zero, just like every other blog. The first version was on a free WordPress theme.


As you can see, I didn’t even have a logo yet. The theme was call Misty Look. The only change I made to it was to switch out the header image for a Corvette Z06. Anyone of you can have that same setup right now for free. However, people look at my blog now, and see that Unique Blog Designs charged $7,500 for the current design, and think, “Oh man, it looks so professional. I’ll never be able to duplicate this.” Then they would use that as an excuse not to start.

Before There Was WordPress

Before the blog, I got the same excuse from people saying that I had an advantage because I started making money online in 1998. Well, back then there was no Google and you have to create everything yourself. This was my first website.


The site was made using MS Frontpage. Every page had to be created. There was no such thing as a Content Management System. My first CMS cost me $3,000 to code and it’s not even 1/100 of what WordPress can do today, that you can get for FREE!

You Just Have To Start

Your blog is a living thing. It will grow and evolve over time. My blog looks nothing like it did when it first started, and yours will be the same way. You can’t get to Point B without first starting at Point A. The process is a journey, and there really is no shortcut.

I can not thrust success on you. That’s akin to being a lottery winner. Most end up where they started from after a few years because they never took that journey to success. So, start your journey to blogging success today. Don’t be intimidated by blogs showing 200,000+ active followers. Realized that they all started from zero, and they look nothing like they look now.

Remember, you have a way better chance of making money online today than when I began my journey. We all start from zero. The key is to just start.

78 thoughts on “We All Start From Zero”

  1. Alvin says:

    This is a fantastic tip. I actually read this tip somewhere before a year or two ago, and that is why I started on my Internet Marketing journey. I am far from where I want to be now, but I know with certainty and hard work I will get there.

  2. Sagar Rai says:

    First time I’m first πŸ™‚

    JC: Wonderful post. Every successful site will have its Beta to Pro version. I still say you have done a wonderful work so far. Keep doing your best.

  3. Thank you John Chow for this post, very motivational πŸ™‚

  4. ferruccio says:

    I think it is the best spirit to use to make this trip.

    Forgive my English

  5. quincy says:

    Hi John, great post, and thanks for laying it out. I understand that people think it was easier to start back then.

    I think people will say the same thing in 10 years. (in 2013 it was easier to start than 2023) Sometimes you can get overwelming with all the options, and seeing people actually can make a living with blogging.

    I have been trying to make money online for almost 1,5 years.(lack of focus, chasing shiny objects, not enogh patience), but have not make any money online.

    This month I got a mail from one of the affiliate company I am promoting products for, Congrats, you have 1 sales transaction. The amount is € 3,7 but for some reason I was really glad, because it showed me it is possible.

    this has shift my mindset to really focus, and get back on track. I recently started with the IMjohnchow, and looking forward going into day 8. I am in the lose weight niche and researching my niche showed there is great potential.

    So I know with this program/fundamentals I can make enough money to quite my job at the end of the year.

    I will keep you posted.

    Kind regards

  6. Hey John, great article!
    In the end you have misspelled remember. You should fix it. πŸ™‚

  7. Anmol Makkar says:

    Read awesome post after a long time πŸ™‚
    I think every blog owner makes mistakes and learn from it and improves his blogs. πŸ™‚

  8. faisal says:

    Its like any other business, you start from scratch.

  9. Michael says:

    Hi John,
    True – good comments – Success starts with having the correct positive mindset before ever putting it into action. Failure is caused from have limited self beliefs. There is only one type of competition and that is with oneself if you choose it to be. Using one’s mind to create and visualise postively first before taking action can only lead to a positive and successful journey and outcome. The journey to success is the exciting part NOT the end part ot it. Nobody should want or desire the end of anything. The journey is where you learn and evolve. Success is on the far side of mistakes. The more mistakes one makes the more one learns. Through those mistakes come the learning process and the evolvement of success. Giving up is a failure and so are excuses to stop. These come from having an incorrect negative mindset. The world is abundant and there is more than enough for everyone!

  10. Hello John,

    Lovely post! We all have to begin somewhere.

    We didn’t learn how to walk in a day. We tried and tried and tried, until success!

    That is why most people fail. They don’t start. It’s easy to make excuses.

    Changing your mindset is the only way to overcome the excuses that are in our mind.

    Keep up the excellent work!

    To Your Success,

    Stacie Walker

  11. Syed Hasan says:

    I don’t know John how come I have to agree every time 100% with you. Perhaps because you speak truth, one can’t simply deny that.

  12. Ryan Bruno says:

    Awesome post, I keep returning to this blog for articles like these. Keep up the good work!

  13. hendrisky says:

    You’re always helpful Mr John. I just started blogging 2 weeks, and still put on wordpress.com. Hopefully I can follow the step by step of your program that I follow a few months ago: blogging with john chow.

  14. sandi says:

    Interesting article!
    Yes, WordPress was very “simplifying” Blogging πŸ™‚

    Just install and write.

  15. Hi John! Another valuable post! Thank you! Anyone, and I literally mean anyone, can earn money online today! But, “skills” are required. And, many people are not willing to first learn the required “skill-sets” and then consistently “apply” those “skill-sets”. These “skill-sets” may be learned. No one is born a master marketer. Great places to start learning these required “skill-sets” are your “Blogging With John Chow” and “IM John Chow” programs, and Charlie Page’s “Directory Of Ezines” and “Follow Up Selling Systems” to name just 4. That is what I did and much more. I am making the time to learn what I can from you, from Charlie Page, from Perry Marshall, from Tom “Big Al” Schreiter and I am acquiring the “skill-sets” that will guarantee my marketing success over time. And, I have learned how to enjoy the journey while realizing that there are “no magic success buttons”!

    1. quincy says:

      Hi Stephen. to hear is to question, to hear is to doubt, to see is to believe. You spot on with the remark about learning the “Skill Set”. Trial and error is difficult to avoide, but with coaches/programs as IMJohnchow you can learn the required skill set.

  16. Edson Hale says:

    thanks to the guy who commented and made you write such a wonderful post that really awoke me from the deep somber. We oftenly hear that Rome was not built in a day but very few tell that Rome was build with first brick on its foundation just like other cities are done. I have listened your half hour lecture on YouTube which you delivered in Germany and told about your life story but the way you narrated the blogging realities in this post is really commendable and hugely inspirational. Thanks John God bless you more.

  17. Jose says:

    All my respect to you John I’m a big fan of you and also one who have learned many things about blogging thanks to you.
    Considering that you always are saying the truth and have the ability to explain thing clearly I want to ask you to write about:
    Is it really possible to have success making money in any other niche besides internet marketing and how to make money online.
    Thanks again John.

    1. John Chow says:

      Yes it is. The make money online niche isn’t the biggest niche. I got started in the technology niche. That’s HUGE!

  18. William Gibson says:

    Hi john, Great post i have just joined your IM John Chow program. Like a lot of people i think your blogs appearance hasn’t change over the years, i was really shocked to find out i was wrong, and it needs to be updated from time to time.

  19. Erwin says:

    Hi everyone,

    you are absolutely right John we all start from zero but only few will get where they want to. Most will say it is too hard and quit, but only the few how are really commited will start and will reach the goal.

    Thank you for your thoughts John.

    All the best.


  20. Melissa says:

    Like always, this post is inspiring!!! Most of us tend to holster their weapons with couple of failures and huddles. It is that zeal to achieve something and that inner voice that should push us an extra mile. This is all we required to go from good to great. Hope more people will mend their methods after reading this post will consider the small starts as a big step towards success.

    Thanks for these views John.

  21. John, what you say is very true-there will always be people for whom just having the positive attitude to start doing something is too much-they would rather moan and dream up a thousand reasons why it will never work. fine, let those who do have a little spirit commence and invest in their future-it take time and effort, but as John says, you have to start somewhere, and develop your brand.

  22. Hello everyone,

    I have started my blog http://rhishi-mysteries.blogspot.com before 3 months but i doesn’t get traffic till now but when i read this article I really get motivated & now I am not gonna give up. thanks John chow.

    1. Jim says:


      Just checked out your website, very nicely put together.
      I really like the older video games also. Very Cool.
      Best regards,

  23. iffat says:

    Thanks John.This is impressive and motivational.

  24. Deli says:

    I agree that as you continue to work on your blog, it will really come to life. If one does not start, nothing comes alive. If you do not sow, you do not reap πŸ™‚

  25. Anh Le says:

    This is a truly inspiring post John! You give me more inspiration and motivation on what I am doing now. I actually made a few blogs for fun before but now I decided that I want to make something serious and professional about my blogging. And I made Blog Earn Live. Yesterday I published my first post over there while there have been millions of blogs out there that have published tons of posts before me.

    But I still did it and made it done. As you said, the key is to just start. And also some other tips if I may say: use your brain, self-educate and just do it!

  26. Nathan Segal says:

    Thanks, John. It’s good to see articles like this. It really puts things into perspective.

  27. Ron says:


    But in Vietnames, if would sign up Adsense, website must active over 6 months.

    Maybe I have to 9 month for Adsense

  28. John has a point here. It’s all very well to comment on how ‘easy’ it was for him back then but with limited support and no real proven model, you can tell it took some guts and hard work to make it successful.

    I’ve purchased IM JOHN CHOW mainly to review it and become a little inspired. What stands out so far is the step by step approach that doesn’t overwhelm the newbie.

  29. Chris says:

    Yes, that’ s absolutely true and a trap I always tend to fall in- but nowadays all the Blogs I am following are looking very good and professional- so I want to achieve the same ( some Day). Its quite a huge learning process- but for me its Fun!

  30. Ragini says:

    You are so right! When you “make it”, people think it was easy for you. There is nothing like making money easily! It’s always with hard work, honesty and determination that we succeed, we make it to the top!

    As you say, we all start from zero, you just have to start….which few people do! They want to reap the fruits without sowing the seed!

  31. Hello John,

    I agree, it is or should be easier today to set up a blog then it was when you first started…

    Now days we have so many examples like you that can show us the route to success.

    I started my first blog in 2009 on blogger dot com and then moved it over to WP dot org…internetnewbieincome dot com…it got hacked and I’m still in process of recovery.

    I am currently under construction with my name domain blog…

    Back then a lot of the wp function was done through FTP and God knows I didn’t have a clue on how to use that back then…

    Thank God for fantastico or what ever it’s called, lol…

    And as you mentioned, all the many great plugins that are available now…

    Thanks for writing this post, because admittedly we all do get a little discouraged thinking we missed the IM gold mine…

    Willie Robertson

  32. Babanature says:

    Wow!!! the article is really inspiring and has truly motivated me. thanks

  33. Sam Patwegar says:

    This is probably one of your most inspiring posts, I guess it is coming straight from you heart (case of heart dominating the brain).

    Your deep committment to reach out, connect and inspire others is hard to miss in this post.

    Thanks for inspiring.

  34. Zul says:

    A very good post and totally agreed with John. Blogging nowadays is much more easier than before because you can find a lot of good resources for blogging with free. I started blogging this way after one month I found few helpful sites about blogging and last but not least John Chow’ free ebook..your ebook really changed my mindset on how to blogging for human…

    The most important thing of to start blogging is to find a niche that you are so passionate about where by as mentioned by John Chow’s free ebook is..to GIVE YOUR READER A VALUABLE INFORMATION THAT YOU’RE WILLING TO DO FOR FREE…so this is my first month blogginv with my new blog with topic that I’m so passionate about and guess what…i am no good at english but when writing something that i have knowledge i am able to do it and i didn’t even realize time has passed very long…

    To succeed in bloging not just a topic like make money online..there huge amount of topic selsction that we choose like travelling, snokerlling, playir guitar and so on…the only matter is your strategy and that strategy is available for free online such as john chow’s ebook…

    Rwad and digest the information start building your tacit knowledge about blogging..tacit knowledge is a valuable asset to your success where you will gain it via your failure and success experience….



  35. I really enjoyed this post not only because it was saying the truth but it brought back some memories. I remembered the days of coding static html sites before there was css etc and my sites I thought looked great then, are merely laughable in todays world of the internet. WordPress has definately come a long long way from the days I would not use it because it was just horrible and difficult to use, to now where I employ it to almost every site I own and at times I create my own wordpress template designs to integrate within my ecommerce sites.

    Thanks for the post and bringing back some great old memories for me.

  36. Eslam says:

    Hello everybody
    Thank you chow for everything , and really I want to success on the Internet but I don’t know How To start , either making money with affiliate marketing without make a blog or website or start make money with blog . also I have no idea which the blog i will make also how much I will spend for that because can you tell me please because I don’t have a lot of money.
    Best Wishes

  37. Christopher McCargar says:

    Hey John… this was an inspiring post, no doubt. It reassures us that success can still be found as a newbie just starting out.

    However it was the first time that I really heard you speak on the MOBE Merc interview that brought the point home that anyone could achieve your success. You came across as a humble and sincere guy who attributed his “why” for his success.

    I was very moved by your presence and your candid comments in that short video. Right then i subscribed to your blog… and now a short time later I’ve purchased IMJohnChow… looking to follow your lead… and break-free!

  38. Michael says:

    Excellent post, every day you learn something new on your blog.

  39. Deirdre says:

    Thanks for this post, John. I have been reading your site for nearly a year and slowly, but surely getting my site together. I began the actual blogging about a week ago. My site is definitely new and very modest, but I am learning WordPress and reading all sorts of material. One step at a time. Each thing I learn to do makes it better and better!

  40. Not only does a journey of a thousand miles begin with one step, the persistence and patience to continue are other ingredients to maintain the growth and success that all on this blog are looking for.

  41. John,

    Thanks for the uplifting post. Obviously success has not spoiled you or hardened you to others just starting out. Thank you for being a source of inspiration to others.

  42. We all have to start from somewhere. Consistent execution is the key.

  43. Justin Garza says:

    Started from the bottom now we here.

  44. Charles Lau says:

    That’s true. The biggest difference that you have is also to do with your determination and focus to make this a success. This is something that I realized that I must have failed miserably myself.

  45. Jon Mcdonald says:

    Very good post John, its good to read something like that to keep the motivation going on my own blog thanks again, and yes I do agree with you that these days it is really easy to have your own blog. WordPress really does make things as easy as a click of the mouse.

  46. Lo S L says:

    Hi John, your points are valid, as I started the exploration in WordPress in year 2008, and there were not as popular as now, as many plugins and innovations as now, as easy to use as now. Maybe I am located in Malaysia, the resources are quite limited to learn WordPress, and I have to pick up somewhere all by myself. And then, my Google Adsense account was banned since 2009 and my interest in blogging vanished since then. I could hardly find any good passive income as good as Google Adsense.

    Of course, there are so many blogs around and I don’t know what to blog to make passive income. I totally agree with you to start blogging right now, but, how to start?

    1. John Chow says:

      That’s why I created Blogging with John Chow and IM John Chow. To teach you how to start.

      1. Hi John, I’m doing IM JohnChow now and I love the way you teach, but should I follow your blogging cours too? or mose of your blogging course is going to be cover in IMJohnChow? And thanks for the post

  47. We all start from zero, that’s absolutely true. Every successful person knows it. We just have to start it. very honest advice.

  48. Wish I had a screenshot of my blog when I first started way back machine did not cache it though. Great article makes me want to continue on with my blog and not give up!

  49. Alex Cooper says:

    I totally agree with your article. Now its become easy to make money online by the help of free tools like WordPress. All you need is great thinking and smart way of writing that attracts people to your blog.

  50. Noble says:

    Great post, John.
    You made some valid points. People who are getting started today can learn from the experiences and mistakes of successful predecessors who have paved the way. Many successful bloggers/authority site owners provide valuable tips, techniques, etc. on their sites to help others in their journey. Thanks for sharing, once again.

  51. Hi John! I like your writing style. Your writing is down to earth, no hype and it sounds like a conversation you might have with a close friend.

    With that out of the way I agree with the fact that we all have to start somewhere and we do have it easier these days.

    The hardest part is to be able to provide value on a constant bases to your audience. To be able to stand out from the crowd you need to have a unique selling proposition that would differentiate you from your competition and thus way attract more readers to your blog.

  52. Chetz Togom says:

    Thanks John.

    You’re right. Now it’s actually easier to start. Even if you’re broke, you can borrow 15 dollars from your parents (or child) and start blogging.

    A lot of people want it fast so when they don’t see the end result NOW, they don’t start. And then regret that they didn’t start earlier 5 – 10 years from now.


  53. Abhik says:

    To be very honest, I don’t think just starting will get you nowhere. You’ll need time to invest as well as monetary capital. Free things, (Themes and Plugins) are not going to help in long run.

  54. Mwiya says:

    Very true. In making comparisons one must take into account as many factors as possible in order to arrive at a reasonable conclusion.
    The bottom line is ACTION!

  55. Terry says:


    Thank you! It was inspirational!

    Keep it up!

    1. Eslam says:

      Thank you for your concern

      I wan to Take your opinion about can I used the free articles for my blog because I am not a good writer ?

  56. Ann says:

    Hi John, I agree with your view on present day blogging and the amazing resources we have these days, but just like I have commented in the IM Social site Kingged.com:
    To a large extent I agree with you that we have more blogging resources to make money online today than they were a few years back. However, I will still toe the line of the the commenter that most niches are saturated today and making money through them would be limited.
    Ann – kingged.com contributor.

  57. Dragos says:

    It is a big truth in all that you are writting. And most of all about starting from scratch. It is important for everyone to know what it is the final goal.Let take my example : last year I have establish that my goal in the next 2 years is to become my own boss. I have fixed two directions to develop : as an network administrator and as an online business owner.First step was to start courses in the CISCO network Academy and I have manage to finish Cisco Certified Network Administration 4 modules.But I saw that opportunities to open a business(without a great budget) in this field, on the romanian market are limited.
    But I have one thing to share with you: “LEARNING BY DOING” IS THE MOTTO OF CISCO. And a big truth.So I have started to learn about SEO and internet marketing.I have discover John and his products.I have discover also how to raise founds to make small investments in order to start an online business.( one of my methods is no more actual because I have loose my daily job). You can find me on Fiverr (burebista) working in order to collect money for my future affiliate marketing business.
    I repeat, the key is “LEARNING BY DOING” and like John said We All Start from Zero. Is time to action.

  58. Topjeff says:

    I have kingged or liked this post in Kingged.com where it was published. The content and Insights are helpful for Internet marketers or bloggers who would have been feeling discouraged about start off.
    My comments on the IM Social site states:
    There is still a reality for everyone out there who really wants to make money online. It has never been easy in the past and also at the present, I am also sure that in the future all would not be an easy walk.

    So, it is not always easy, and the earlier this is realized, the better results would be achieved.

    I agree with your view and I urge Internet marketers to leverage on the wider resources these days to become successful.
    Topjeff – contributor at Kingged.com

  59. impressive great article and nice thought keep going

  60. Allen Young says:

    In some ways it is easier, other ways it is harder. If you do not start, does it matter?

  61. Great post John! And thanks for this article that I can still see hope on my journey in making money online. My only regret is why I didn’t follow your tips and advice years ago.

  62. Thong Huu says:

    John, how to make money online is a very hot topic, so you will easily make money on it, that’s why you write it, you will fail if you write a different topics.

    There are many people who write different topics and earn very little money, just to prove this issue …


    1. John Chow says:

      Tell that to the HuffPo or any other AOL blogs. You’ll following not a classic mistake thinking that there is only one niche that makes money.

  63. Yes, People need to understand Point A and Point B. I never started blogging to make money online but now from last few months i started making money with it. Yesterday i got $99 commission the highest commission i have ever received from my blog & it inspired me again to work hard for my blog & set new goals to earn more from it…

  64. Thank’s John. I will start from zero

  65. jula says:

    john you are the most inspirational person in blogging world and this post is another one. I frequently read your post not because to earn money but because i want to be successful.

  66. Lanie says:

    wow!! tnx John..yes’ I’ll start my journey to success πŸ™‚

  67. Gus says:

    Yeah, you know something I’ve found? Some people will spend all day making up excuses why something can’t be done rather than just doing it.

  68. Hi John,

    I agree! I wouldn’t have liked starting blogging YEARS AGO simply because of the little or even lack of information available! How to set up a wordpress blog for instance? Which plug-ins to use? Which ones are the best and which ones should you stay away from?

    I am quite a technophobiac but I use Youtube videos to find out about WordPress for instance and thank God, Youtube exists! Had I started much earlier, I would have most certainly given up! First of all, I had very little time and the resources available were quite thin!

    Now, of course, some can complain about information overload but it’s up to us to choose what we want to concentrate on and who we want to follow! There really is no more excuse these days! At least, that’s my understanding! I am happy to be blogging in 2013 and looking forward to the next few years too!

    Have a great day!


  69. Mona says:

    Hi John,
    You really rock.
    You hit the nail on the head and the tail …
    Bang on you are.Really.
    We all must start from the bottom upwards.Like someone said rightly ‘the only task you can start doing from top down is – digging a hole”
    The rub is never to discourage yourself ,merely because your efforts today appear crude and gauche.We all must start modest and really cherish the journey upwards.You have to walk before you can learn to run.Simple.
    So thanks a lot.
    Best of luck

  70. Tarun Kumar says:

    Hello John chow, for the first time I am writing a comment in your blog. You are the father of blogging and you inspired me to speak ‘ there is life in blogging.

Comments are closed.